Bao Makers, Jiak Chuan Road: Cafe Carving their Own Space with Local Buns and International Flavours

Originally located at Horne Road (Jalan Besar), Bao Makers cafe has moved to Jiak Chuan Road (town area) and opened an outlet at Westgate.

One reason for their longevity, amidst closures of cafes after cafes, is their original idea. They are the first to use traditional Chinese mantou filled with local and international flavours. This is smart because many corporate events can cater these hand-held, bite-sized, local food.

Bao Set (choose any 3): We chose chilli crab, pork belly, and mala beef

Their menu is rather extensive with many interesting local-international fusion flavours.

You may order their signature baos individually ($3.80 – $4.50 each). There are 7 flavours including vegetarian. Or you can order a set of 3 ($13.80).

The baos are outstanding. The chilli crab bao comes with a deep-fried mantou that remains crispy. It is sweet and spicy, full of crab.

I ordered the kong ba pork belly bao to test if they can hold their own against the traditional flavour. Yes, they can. It is tender and flavourful, the bun soft as cloud.

The mala beef comes across as super salty (overly?) which mellows down to a spiciness and a numbness. I like the wide range of flavours but my eating partner thinks it is way too salty, beyond his acceptance.

Kecap manis chicken ricebowl

The kecap mani chicken ricebowl ($13.80) is an exemplar of how to showcase your cafe’s character through the food. It’s like the Chinese sweet-and-sour pork, except they use chicken and use kecap manis sauce.

The sauce is sticky enough to be coated on the chicken, which is how it should be, and not watery and dripping. It’s sweet and spicy and crispy. Interesting, innovative, and delicious.

Cookie bomb

The cookie bomb ($7.50), their signature dessert, is a soft baked cookie sundae topped with vanilla ice cream. It is very insta-worthy when you sink the spoon into the dessert and see the ice cream spill over.

The soft-core cookie is hot, the ice cream cold, which gives a great contrast. But, as my eating companion complains, it is way way way too sweet, ignoring our government’s fight against diabetes. Because it is so sweet, I couldn’t taste the cookie; instead, it tastes more like chocolate lava fondant.

Including two drinks, we paid $57 for two persons. The day before, we were at Apollo cafe and similarly, we ordered two mains, a dessert, and two drinks, same as here at Bao Makers. But at Apollo which isn’t at town area, we paid $78. We paid 30% lesser at Bao Makers. I consider that a win.

Bao Makers
4 Jiak Chuan Road Singapore 089261
T: +65 6291 2330
M – Sat 12pm – 3pm
M – Th 6pm – 10pm
F & Sat 6pm – 11pm

Food: 7/10
Price / value: 6.5/10
Decor / ambience: 7/10
Service: 6/10

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Bee’s Knees @ The Garage, Botanic Gardens: Find a Winning Formula for Cafes, then Cut and Paste
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Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.

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